A 28-year-old man was arrested in the early hours of this morning after police spotted a car driving the wrong way down the M4 and a major operation was launched to stop the vehicle.

A Wiltshire police spokesman said: "Shortly before 5am today a roads policing officer was on duty in a marked police vehicle on junction 16 of the M4, when he became aware of a vehicle in his rear view mirror that contravened a no-entry sign on the exit slip road from the M4 westbound.

"The officer immediately turned his vehicle around and spotted a Saab 900 travelling east along the hard shoulder of the westbound carriageway of the M4.

"The officer joined the motorway on the eastbound carriageway and called for assistance, while following the vehicle from the opposite side of the road.

"The Saab exited the M4 westbound carriageway at Junction 15 and rejoined it again by contravening a second no-entry sign on the exit slip road continuing against the flow of traffic."

Several police vehicles were sent to try to intercept the Saab and it was stopped on the hard shoulder before Membury services.

A man from Swindon was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and drink driving. He remains in Gablecross Police Station custody for questioning.

Duty Inspector Rachel Hardy said: "The officers involved in this incident made some fast time decisions to bring the vehicle to a stop and prevent a serious, and potentially fatal collision from occurring with members of the public.

"As we all know, driving conditions have been difficult for the past few days, with temperatures dropping well below freezing overnight. The driver of this vehicle put himself, his passenger, and other road users lives in grave danger.

"It is extremely fortunate that no one was injured during this incident. Although the M4 was relatively quiet at this time, there were a number of lorries and cars using this stretch of motorway at the time, and no doubt their concentration would have been seriously impacted by this incident."

Police have appealed for dash-cam footage. Ring 101 and quote crime reference number 54190011346.